Hyde Park, SET prep director search show


NEW DELHI -- Hollywood producer and Hyde Park Entertainment chairman Ashok Amritraj on Tuesday announced a new film talent reality show produced in association with Sony Entertainment Television.

"Gateway," to air on English movie channel SET PIX beginning Nov. 4, will search for an Indian director to helm a feature that will be jointly distributed worldwide with Sony Pictures, Amritraj said.

The contest is open to Indian citizens only and submissions will be accepted from Wednesday until Sept. 15.

"This is my 25th year in Hollywood, and I am using this opportunity to do something back in India," Armritraj said in an interview. "The younger generation of filmmakers here have great talent and 'Gateway' is their platform to break out internationally."

Added SET PIX India country head Sunder Aaron: "Once we review the submissions, we will select 50 finalists who will be adjudged at regional levels after which the final 18 finalists will come to Mumbai. The weekly one-hour show will give the contestants various filmmaking tasks which will be judged by Amritraj who will be advised by two celebrity judges."

On the obvious comparisons with the Mark Burnett/Steven Spielberg produced Fox reality show "On the Lot," Amritraj said: "I think our show is probably a bit like 'The Apprentice' since I make the final decision every week on the contestants. There is no voting by viewers. The basic aim of the contest is to pull back the curtain on how a movie is actually made, showing the relationship between a producer and a director."

The 13 episodes of "Gateway" will focus on films made in English, since the winning director will be making a film for international audiences.

"There is a lot of talk about Indian films crossing over, but to be honest, that hasn't happened," Amritraj said. "But I believe that Indian talent can definitely cross over if given a shot to go global."

Amritraj also confirmed that Hyde Park's upcoming projects include "The Other End of the Line" co-produced with MGM. The Indo-American romance directed by James Dodson will star Jesse Metcalfe ("John Tucker Must Die") and begin shooting in October in India and the U.S.